For a while now I’ve been thinking about where we are in our exploration of being church beyond the traditional definition.
Honestly? Sometimes it feels a bit like the best answer would be nowhere.
This stark thought has been rattling around my head for the past few days, coming up in several conversations, and perhaps highlighting a problem that just isn’t going away.
This simple urge to be together with others exploring life, faith and community.
So, why not just find a church that works and get back into it?
At the moment – I don’t know.
But I can tell you is that this is where I’m at.
I can’t imagine walking through the door and within minutes being separated from our children, as they’re whisked off to ‘have fun’ and we’re left to ‘focus on God’. What does this communicate to us? That children distract us from the real stuff?
I’d rather be part of something that recognises that we see the creator in every part of creation, young and old, and that church means family, means learning from each other. It doesn’t mean a ‘family service’ where everything feels a little dumbed down. How about a place where we teach our kids to be theologians as well as disciples? I’d be up for that.
I can’t imagine being together with people, all facing one direction, having to sing songs trying to tug at my emotions for a big old chunk of time, avoiding eye contact at all costs whilst wondering why we’re singing that chorus again.
I’d rather listen to some songs from distinctly secular artists, or read a book of poems or stories or thoughts, or walk through a gallery, or play a game and be inspired by the creative force that runs through everything and everybody. I’d love then to be able to share about these beautiful discoveries with those around me, poking and challenging and creating and hoping and dreaming our way to an idea of who and what we might possibly meant to be.
I can’t imagine sitting in a room, listening to one voice telling us what the Bible says as if it’s as simple as ABC, turning this beautifully confusing, multi-faceted narrative into a ‘how to…’ guide for modern living.
I’d rather sit down with a bunch of friends and talk about life in all its splendid messiness, trying to figure out where God is in the middle of it. I’d love to wrestle with a text that confuses and confounds, and yet still remains oddly captivating. I long for a conversation, for a chance to listen and be listened to, not simply told. I want to be part of a group of people who shape the world around us, rather than point fingers at just how bad it all is.
I don’t know if I’m ever going to find this ‘thing’ that I long for.
Maybe I just need to get over myself, or lower my expectations. Nothing is perfect. Deal with it
Or maybe I need to do something about it this time. My instinct is that this is possible.